Francis, the Ignatian (Update)
Robert P. Imbelli April 23, 2013 - 7:24pm
Just a month ago, I entered a post on whether the new Pope should retain "S.J." after his name. It gave rise to a spirited exchange. While arguing that I did not think the Pope (or any bishop) should retain the identifying designation of his religious community, I certainly did not call into question the profound formation the individual had received in his religious community's tradition. Indeed, I think it constitutes a continuing blessing.In his homily for today, on his patronal feast of Saint George, Pope Francis shows the influence of Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises on his theological-pastoral vision:
Jesus Himself says in the Gospel:" But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep." If we are not "sheep of Jesus," faith does not come to us. It is a rosewater faith, a faith without substance. And let us think of the consolation that Barnabas felt, which is "the sweet and comforting joy of evangelizing." And let us ask the Lord for this "parresia", this apostolic fervor that impels us to move forward, as brothers, all of us forward! Forward, bringing the name of Jesus in the bosom of Holy Mother Church, and, as St. Ignatius said, "hierarchical and Catholic." So be it."
What I think we have got in the Pope is the very best of the traditional Jesuit: faithful to Christ, faithful to the Church, going out to people and not just to the powerful ones but to those on the margins, as Francis is urging us to do now. At its best, I dont think there is any tradition in the Church to equal that of the Jesuits.
About the Author
Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is Associate Professor of Theology Emeritus at Boston College.